Fugly Bali
Bali can still be an island paradise though.
But like with anything else in life, you have to go out of your (easy option) way to find it.
Yes, the proverbial and a safe Bali paradise does exist!

How do I experience paradise in Bali, safely and without contributing to the problem for other tourists and the Balinese themselves? Actually, it is very simple to find true paradise, and a safe haven (from disease, crime and terrorism while in Bali). And by taking a little bit of time, you should likely have a far more enjoyable (and safer) holiday, plus help the Balinese and be able to come back home with a clear consience.

It is a natural process really, when you think about it. Bad or so-so hotels, then to be that way in every regard. So, if you find hotels / villas that meet certain business criteria, it is almost certain they will be gems across the board. And you should then be closer to your slice of paradise for you all important holiday / vacation in Bali. So what are these business criteria to look out for and avoid?

If you stear clear of hotels / hotel areas that are built on contentious ground, e.g.
a) Hotels built on land that was compulsory purchased at rock bottom rates under Suherto, and then used by his family / sold to foreign hotel chains at huge profits, such as most if not all hotels in Nusa Dua.
b) Hotels built on land too close to temples / shrines, or which otherwise contravene building regulations, such as Le Meridien Nirwana, Grand Bali Beach, and The Four Seasons Sayan.
That would be a very good start. After all, these hoteliers must have known what they were doing.

Also, if you find a hotel which is built on land that is owned by a Balinese (this includes foreign / foreigner owned hotels), you are also more likely to be looking at a hotel that contributes to the local community and provides a true Balinese experience to its guests.

Avoiding hotels that cater to tour groups is another good idea. As tour group hotels tend to sell their rooms at very low prices to tour operators, they thave to cut costs elsewhere (even when you book independently). You are also, arguably, more likely to find the annoying stereotypes at tour group hotels such as people that reserve the best sun lounges with their towels at 6am, people whose index finger seems to have a nervous twitch and be permanently glued to their camera button, and loud groups with a petulance for alcohol.

Finally, finding hotels that treat their staff well is a sure sign they treat their guests as well as they possibly can. How do you know if they treat their staff well? Its easy, find the ones that do not cheat their staff of the service charge! To find more about cheating staff of service charges, please read our Bali Travel Agents page.

So, how can you do all of this in just a few seconds? It is very easy, just send the hotels you are considering this;

Dear Sir / Madam

We are considering staying at your hotel / villa. Can you please answer the following questions.

1) Is your hotel / villa built on any contentious land? That is;
a) Land whose title is the subject of a land title dispute with the previous Balinese owner, or;
b) land that was compulsory purchased by the Soherto Government, or;
c) Land that has contravened local building regulations, epsecially if this is in respect of building too close to Balinese shrines / temples.
d) Land over which the local Balinese protest over.

2) Do you sell rooms to tour operators for tour group use?

3) Is the land your hotel / villa is built on, is it owned by a Balinese person or company? If not Balinese, where is the company / individual based?

4) Does or has your hotel / villa been owned, partly or fully, or managed at any time by the Suharto family or a company which they are a director of?

5) Is it OK for me to pay the service charge directly to the staff? If not, can you please detail exactly how much of the service charge the staff get and how this is distributed (equally amongst the staff, or where directors and managers get more - please detail fully)?

6) Does your hotel / villa have a full operational license and is it registered for tax?

And watch out for slippery answers!

We can almost guarantee, if you go through this process and eliminate the hotels / villas that answer negatively, poorly or not at all. And then select a hotel or hotels from the ones that give the right answers, you will find one of the best hotels / villas in their area for sure.

Please do not become a victim or part of the problem. Read:
Bali Tourism (Should I go, where, and how do I avoid adding to the problem / putting myself / my family at risk in Bali?).

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Please also visit the anti-corruption & fraud website Bali BS

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